Tag Archives: adirondacks

“Remembering Aviation Hero Floyd Bennett”


      When I was a young boy, I remember my gram telling me about her cousin, famous aviator Floyd Bennett. She told me how he was the first man to fly an airplane to the North Pole!  One day, a few years later, I was walking out in back of the Queensbury Little League fields, when I came across an old decrepit paved road. Quickly it dawned on me, that it was part of the old airfield’s runway, that my gram and dad had told me about!
Do you remember going into the McDonald’s, in the “Aviation” Mall on “Aviation” Rd. and seeing photos on their walls of an old airport? Well, that was the original Floyd Bennett Airfield, and it was located where the Queensbury School Campus is today. The last remaining building, from those days, was made into a bus garage, but was originally an airplane hanger. Sadly, it was demolished a few years back. Designating that old building a historical landmark and converting it into an Aviation Museum, would’ve been a smarter and more respectful thing to do. We must embrace our local history and do everything in our power to keep it alive! More and more folks move to Northern New York every year, and they do not have the same sentimental attachment that us natives share. What means the world to one, often-times means nothing to another. So, we have only ourselves to blame for losses such as this. What was formerly the Warren County Airport, has been re-named the Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport.
       Floyd Bennett was born in Warrensburg, New York October 25th 1890. He gave up school at the age of 17, and became a mechanic and part owner of a service garage. In 1917, he joined the U.S. Navy, taking up Aviation training. Although he became an abled pilot, his superiors ordered him to stay on as an Aviation Mechanic. In 1925, he was given orders to join Lieutenant Richard Byrd’s Naval Aviation group, which was teamed up with D.B. MacMillan’s expedition to Greenland that year. His ability as a mechanic, along with his personality, caught the eye of Byrd and he became two things, Byrd’s friend and his personal pilot.
       After the Greenland expedition, Bennett and Byrd started planning a flight to the North Pole. In May of 1926, with a carefully planned out strategy and a little luck, the two men carried out their goal, flying a 3-engine Fokker Monoplane, named the “Josephine Ford”. The two men were awarded Medals of Honor, which were very rare awards to receive during peacetime! They were also given promotions! Byrd was made Commander and Bennett (by Act of Congress) was made Warrant Mechanic! Bennett was also given a special medal by the National Geographic Society, presented by then President Calvin Coolidge. They then started making plans to cross the Atlantic, in a plane called the “America”. Unfortunately though, the America crashed in a test flight, almost killing Bennett, which then left the door wide open for Charles Lindberg to make the flight.
In Byrd’s 1928-30 expedition to the South Pole, Bennett, who had made most of the plans, was made 2nd in command. Before the flight was to take place, Bennett and fellow colleague Bernt Balchen were to make a trip to Labrador. There, off the coast, lay a plane that went down named the “Bremen”, which was the first to cross the Atlantic Westwards. Strangely, on their way to salvage the plane, in April of ’28, Bennett became very sick and passed away in Quebec, Canada, at the young age of 38!
His death was mourned by the nation, and he was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

-C. H. Eldridge

“Receiving Medals from President Coolidge”


“Special Medal from the National Geographic Society”

“Medal of Honor”

“Floyd Bennett”

“Raquette Lake Bear Encounter”

One day my fiance (now wife) Amanda and I decided to take a nice long road trip through the Adks.. We were making our way through the Raquette Lake area, looking for photo ops. Amanda was keeping her eyes peeled on her side and I was covering mine, when all of the sudden she said, “There’s a bear!”. I recall saying, “Yeah right?”, when she came back with a quick “I’m serious!”. I looked back through my rear-view mirror to see a Black Bear on top of a crate. As still as it looked, I thought it had been taxidermied, until it turned it’s head! I exclaimed “Holy Shit!” as I swung the car around, then proceeded with caution; as to not spook the young bruin.
I was able to get pretty close, about 40 ft.. It was standing on top of one of those homemade crates that just about everyone has in the North Country, to keep animals out of their garbage. Well, I started snappin’ away!
About 5-10 minutes later, that bear had become quite the spectacle, with about 10-15 cars pulled over watching the rare sight! It was a pretty busy road with vehicles speeding past, and I started getting worried when I saw the bear getting agitated, from all of the attention it was getting. It’s hair even started bristling up on it’s back! I told Amanda that I hoped it didn’t try jumping down off the crate and running across the road, when a few moments later that’s exactly what it did!
When the bear jumped off of the crate and started heading for the road, my heart also jumped… right into my throat! I yelled out “NOOO!!”, when I noticed a truck barreling along, pulling a trailer full of kayaks! That bear ran right out in front of that truck! The driver slammed on his brakes, causing the trailer to jackknife, just missing that bear by inches!!! I don’t know how that guy maintained control, but he did! Amazingly, he straightened that trailer back out without wrecking, as the lucky young bear ran up the hill on the other side of the road and disappeared into the woods. We both sat there looking at each other in total awe of what just unfolded before our eyes!
So that’s the story of how I captured this bear image. One Amanda and I will never forget!

“Adolescent Adirondack Black Bear”

“Ghosts of Lake George”

Such a beautiful place
for blood to be shed,
war after war
and countless are dead.

Do restless souls
still wander this land,
cut short in life
by taking a stand.

Many folks today
take for granted their freedom,
never give thought
about how much we did need’em.

The greed of countries
gave birth to these fights,
having total disregard
for the indigenous one’s rights.

Through war and disease
their numbers went down,
their way of life
turned from smile to frown.

The ghosts of Lake George
and the sacrifices they made,
give the respect they deserve
so their memory won’t fade.

-C. H. Eldridge

“Sunset on Lake George” Shelving Rock Area Adirondack Park, Northern New York